Ancient empire’s border stones
Published/Last edited or updated: 11th February, 2017
The westernmost site of the ancient Khmer empire so far discovered, the reconstructed laterite sanctuary of Prasat Mueang Singh provides history enthusiasts with a more distant layer of the past to explore and it’s well worth a detour while daytripping to other outlying attractions such as Hellfire Pass.
Visitors pass through any of four gopura gates and climb down ancient steps to a central prasat representing Mount Meru, centre of the universe in Hindu cosmology. Here stands an exquisite image of Avalokitesvara, Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion, displaying a concentrated face and hundreds of tiny Buddha images on the body armour. All eight of its hands were cracked off, leaving us to ponder if they were taken for their value or destroyed by superstitious locals bent on limiting the perceived power of the image.
In a second room set further back, a stunning image of Prajnaparamita also lost both arms, though its hobbit-like feet remain. Sunlight reaches through entrances on all four sides and frames the statue in haunting scenes. Other minor statuary and lintels once adorned the sanctuary; a few are displayed in the small museum beside the visitor centre, while others have been lost or moved to the National Museum in Bangkok.
Visitors who venture beyond the central sanctuary will find three more ancient monuments consisting of little more than laterite bases and walls. There’s also an ancient burial site set near the river in an out-of-the-way spot, where roughly 1,500-year-old human remains and pottery were unearthed. The roots of dipterocarp and jackfruit trees provide shade throughout the complex.
Beginning in 1974, the restoration work at Prasat Mueang Singh was rather rushed and, as a result, controversial. Accurate records were not kept and some of the reconstruction may have strayed from the ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 200 words.)
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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